Help for Egyptian students back from Sudan

Reem Leila , Friday 5 May 2023

Al Ahram Weekly reports on the fate of Egyptian school and university students returning from Sudan just a few days before the final exams

Help for Egyptian students back from Sudan
Egyptian students who had been studying in Sudan will be integrated into Egyptian schools


Around 5,000 university Egyptian students along with 35 school students are currently being evacuated from Sudan following the ongoing conflict in the neighbouring country. Both ministries of education are working on plans to help the students complete the academic year and sit for the final exams.

Twenty-one of the school students are in their final high school year (Thanaweya Amma).

According to Minister of Education and Technical Education Reda Hegazi, returning Egyptian students must go to the ministry’s General Administration for Examinations to facilitate the procedures for their placement in schools and to set up a mechanism for this year’s final exams. “We have decided to postpone the exams of the returnees in the k12 system and technical diplomas until their status is stabilised in Sudan,” Hegazi said.

Ministry of Education spokesman Shadi Zalata told Al-Ahram Weekly that the ministry has opened the registration for the 21 Thanaweya Amma students in order to sit for their finals even though registration has closed. “Thanaweya Amma students returning from Sudan will be allowed to choose between sitting for their finals at their scheduled time in June or taking them in the second round in August in order to give them enough time to settle down and study,” Zalata said.

According to Zalata, the ministry will be responsible for Egyptian students who were studying in Sudan in schools affiliated to the Egyptian mission, not those studying at Sudanese schools. “Curriculum being taught at schools in the Egyptian mission is similar to the curriculum being taken here in Egypt. The only difference is in history and geography.”

“Students’ grades are usually divided between the first and second semesters. Grades of students returning from Sudan will be calculated only in the second term to enable them to obtain better grades,” Zalata said.

He added that the ministry is not responsible for students whether Egyptians or Sudanese who are studying in Sudanese schools. “Those students have to contact the Sudanese Embassy in Egypt as well as the ministries of immigration and Egyptian expats and foreign affairs to guide them. Those students were studying Sudanese, not Egyptian, curriculum and, therefore, we cannot help them,” Zalata said.

He said students in the Sudanese education system who wish to join the Egyptian system in Egypt must sit for equivalency exams, so must contact the ministry’s General Administration for Examinations to know the required steps. “They will be enrolled in Egyptian schools the coming academic year after passing the required exams.”

Concerning Egyptian university students who were studying in Sudan, the Ministry for Higher Education has asked them to submit identification papers proving which faculties and universities they were enrolled in. This is in addition to documents verifying their grades as well as the details of the topics they were studying to determine their scientific and educational level.

Mahmoud Zaki, a member of the Supreme Council for Universities (SCU), said the total number of Egyptian university students studying in Sudan comes to around only 3,000. The remaining 2,000 are not registered on the Egyptian scientific platform for studying abroad, affiliated to the Ministry of Higher Education.

Egyptian students who were studying at Egyptian universities whether governmental or private will be reintegrated into it. “The same procedures adopted for students who returned from Ukraine after the war with Russia broke out will be applied to students returning from Sudan,” Zaki said

Zaki pointed out that the SCU held an extended meeting on 2 May to consider all possible alternatives to reintegrate students who were studying at Sudanese universities.

“No one knows when this war will end and the SCU intends to employ all its capabilities to help students returning from Sudan,” Zaki said.

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with Sudanese authorities recently evacuated more than 6,500 Egyptians from Sudan.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 4 May, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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